Cyclists are getting their due again, recognition and respect thanks to federal legislation recently passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington. The Invest in America Act is a $715 billion transportation bill that also promotes alternative transportation-related projects with bike-friendly amendments.
Part of the Invest in America Act recognizes the widespread use of bicycles as transportation. Passed on July 1, the bill also is geared toward protecting cyclists and pedestrians by investing in safe and accessible projects for people who bike and walk.
Repairing dangerous roads, more bike paths
Among the bike-related highlights from the bill include:
- Incentivizes states to repair and modify dangerous roads and intersections potentially preventing injurious and fatal bike accidents.
- Reinstates the Bicycle Commuter Benefit, which allows employers to incentivize bike commuting among their workers in offering up to $240 per year expenses such as repair costs, lights and helmets
- Creates a nationwide Complete Streets policy geared toward making safer streets for the public. In addition, it would include improvements to bike lanes and bicycle parking areas.
- Closer to home the legislation will provide $19.1 billion for various bike-related projects in the San Fernando Valley region. One of them designates nearly $600,000 for a bike path project in Los Angeles. Also, $4 million will be devoted to a San Louis Obispo-area bike path that has been in the planning stages for more than a decade.
The legislation represents great news, but is only a start. In the past 50 years, cycling has significantly grown in popularity in the U.S. It is time that national legislation kept pace with this enduring and popular sport, leisure activity and effective method of transportation.